Mash TV’s Martin Fullard provides his monthly deep dive into sporting events
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? No sooner had we all thought we’d said goodbye to the cold throes of winter than the ‘Beast from the East’ swept in without remorse bringing chaos and ruin to all in its path.
There was barely an event in the land that wasn’t affected in some way by the Beast. In the sports world, football games up and down the country were postponed, denying the public such clashes as Doncaster Rovers vs Bury and Morecambe vs Colchester United.
The Football League, though, has all this covered, and the postponed games have all been rearranged. I will now be enjoying AFC Wimbledon vs Charlton Athletic on a wet Tuesday evening. Good, because the Dons’ form at the end of February was awful.
Having a plan in place for rescheduling sporting events seems like a fairly straightforward concept, but is it? What if it’s a privately run sports event for the public?
The Bath Half Marathon was one of the notable casualties during the Beast’s rampage. After meeting with the council and local police, it was decided that it was too dangerous to run the event. To make matters worse, the event could not simply be rescheduled.
A statement on the event website read: “To re-schedule we would need to re-run stakeholder consultations, road closures, public notice periods, re-book specialist contractors and volunteers which takes a huge amount of forward planning to organise.” It sounds like an awful faff.
Testament to the organiser, all runners were offered a full refund.
I don’t know what contingency plans were in place – I point out that I haven’t spoken to the organiser – but I do hope they had insurance.
So what do sporting event organisers need to know about insurance when the snow hits the fan? For answers, I went to Peter Tilsed, technical director at insurance broker Luker Rowe, an agency who knows their event onions.
Peter told me: “Cancellation against adverse weather conditions for outdoor events is normally only included if specifically requested and the premiums will increase.
“The key issue considering cancellation of any event is the health and safety not only of the participants but also for visitors. It could be a requirement of the council or police that the event is cancelled.
“It is essential that you check with the insurer the position on cancellation before the event. You do not want to be left in a position trying to decide if it is correct to cancel your event not knowing how your insurer will react.
“You also need to consider the basis of how much you insure for. Is the cover just for the costs you have incurred, or do you require to also insure for the loss of profit and/or the additional costs in rearranging the event.”
While an event like the ‘Beast from the East’ is rare, it is worth taking time out to assess what your losses might be should you be victim of force majeure and, just as importantly, how will you handle it?
There are no guarantees when it comes to mixing weather and sport. Trust me, I’m a Wimbledon fan.